What do you make with the season's first glimpse of exquisitely ripe cherries?
I thought about pie. Considered jam. Compote. But what if an ingredient is already a finished product? Ripe fruit is done. End of story. Yes, there are more possibilities, but for now, all I need are fingers to pick, and a mouth to enjoy.
Generous neighbors, Michelle and Paul, whom I am privileged to garden for, have three robust cherry trees, weighty with the juicy, sweet globes. This has been an exceptional year for flowering plants and trees, producing a bountiful season for fruit. Thanks to their kind offer to pick my fill, I came home with booty that would make a pirate drool. Though really, I'm the one wiping my mouth!
The red pigmentation in certain berries is due to the presence of anthocyanins, which have been proven to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Anthocyanins are concentrated antioxidants contributing to a bouquet of health benefits.
A study conducted by the Cherry Marketing Institute presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in 2008 stated: "Rats that received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet did not gain as much weight or build up as much body fat, and their blood showed much lower levels of inflammation indicators that have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, they had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than the other rats.”